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Gemma

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Very basic

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-12-16

The science here is very basic - some of it GCSE level, some A level, but nothing beyond. It might be good for a pre-GCSE student, or for an adult who didn't get or can't remember their science education, but otherwise it's too simple and basic to be of interest.

It's accessible and explained simply, but not very entertainingly.

The reading was good apart from the narrator putting on voices and, even worse, accents, whenever he read out a quote from another scientist. I couldn't help but cringe every time he attempted a foreign accent. Why, just why?!

Disjointed and disappointing

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-11-13

This is not a novel but a collection of short stories read one after the other. The description and introduction gives you the impression that the stories will be linked together to form a cohesive whole but this is not the case. Although the same characters feature in stories from when they are children and then throughout their lives, there is little character progression and no plot linking them together.

I am a big fan of Jack Kilborn and I've loved all his other books but this left me bored and disappointed.

The female narrator, Angela Dawe, has a very irritating way of lifting her voice at the end of each sentence which irritated me every time she spoke.

Although some of the stories were good (some better than others) I will not be listening to this again.

An entertaining listen

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-11-13

The story is entertaining despite being fairly predictable. There are some humorous exchanges but this is 'straighter' than the style seen in Koontz's other works like Odd Thomas and Life Expectancy.

It's genuinely creepy at parts and well-paced, keeping up the tension throughout.

I really liked Natalie Ross's reading, she has a lovely voice that I could listen to all day and she does a great job with the different character's voices, both male and female.

I was disappointed in the ending which left questions unanswered and was very abrupt, but I would listen again.

2 people found this helpful

Slow start but worth the wait

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-09-13

If you could sum up The Casual Vacancy in three words, what would they be?

Character driven, blackly comic, slow building

What other book might you compare The Casual Vacancy to, and why?

I don't think I've ever read one quite like it.

Have you listened to any of Tom Hollander’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No. I liked his reading very much.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt many emotions at the end: sadness at the way Krystal's sub-plot wrapped up, happy at the way Samantha's did, guiltily happy at the way Howard's did, sad for Andrew and hopeful for Fats. The characters were developed very well.

Any additional comments?

I don't think you need to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy this.

Well read but badly written/edited

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-09-13

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who enjoys a story that's padded out to the death? I liked the premise and the main story but I feel it was far too padded out and could have done with a severe edit. Jenny and Lisa spend a long time searching the town at the beginning and when the police arrive they repeat the entire search, discovering the same things, in the same detail. That whole section should have been dealt with much more quickly so the plot could start moving forward.

What does Buck Schirner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He was a good narrator with great pacing, a fair attempt at different voices for different characters, and his voice was not jarring or distracting. I have to say his English accent was terrible!

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Phantoms?

I would have condensed the first half of the book, cutting it down to about 1/3 of its original length. I would have upped the pace and built tension as time went on, as personally I didn't feel any tension or fear of 'The Ancient Enemy'.I would have had more scenes outside of Snowfield to break up the monotony of being with the same characters in the same building with not much happening.

Any additional comments?

I feel this was perhaps made with the intention of making it into a film and the writing suffered as a result.

11 people found this helpful

Wished for a different narrator

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-12

I enjoyed this trilogy immensely as a teenager and I thought I would find out how good they are as an adult. I still enjoyed the story and the writing very much but I was disappointed in the choice of narrator. Anton Lesser reads very narrative very well but the dialogue was missing something, perhaps because his voice doesn't have much range and he was speaking for several female characters as well as male.

This would have been perfect with a full cast, as His Dark Materials had.

7 people found this helpful

Dark, funny and perfectly read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-12

One of the best books I have read/listened to in a long time. Frank is a wonderfully developed character, and all the side characters are interesting too. Despite the rather horrific narrative this book is often very funny, and the phone calls between Frank and Eric had me in stitches.

The narration is perfect, I could listen to Peter Kenny's voice all day.

6 people found this helpful

Brilliant novel, bad narration

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 13-08-12

I couldn't finish this audiobook. The narration was dull and there was not enough distinction between the character's voices. The timing was also poor and description and dialogue were said in the same breath so I found myself losing track of who was talking and didn't have time to digest the narrative.

Very disappointing. I would have chosen John Lee who narrated Pillars of the Earth for this.

10 people found this helpful

Original horror

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-05-12

This should probably be classed as "black comedy" as well as horror to avoid disappointment from people who like their horror serious and sinister. Kilborn's style is to throw at you as much gore and as many disgustingly painful ways of killing people as possible but in a darkly humorous way. I laughed out loud at several points and rather than detract from the horror, it makes it even better.

This is the third Kilborn audiobook I've downloaded and he is definitely a bit obsessed with cannibalism, people who are deformed or physically different (like being super tall) and people who are mentally unstable. I found this novel quite similar to Endurance, and I think Endurance does it a bit better. I don't think the pacing of Trapped is quite as good as it takes a while to really get going and then there isn't really a building of tension.

One thing I have really enjoyed about Kilborn's books is that the characters are very original and not the usual horror stereotypes. He seems to like using strong female protagonists to fight the bad guys and doesn't just use them as fodder - that's a refreshing change. However I found Sarah quite uninspiring as a heroine in Trapped. I much preferred the characterisation of Tyrone and Cindi and my biggest disappointment with this is that we didn't spend more time with Georgia, who was fascinating and entirely unique. In a way I think it's a shame she was a bit part in a novel and didn't get to star in her own.

I can see from the other reviews that I'm not the only one who thought "this would make a good movie" while I was listening. Hopefully some movie makers will see our reviews!

1 person found this helpful

Loved every minute

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-05-12

I can't praise this novel highly enough. Several times I jumped back a few chapters just to hear them again! It is very well written, the plot goes forward at a good rate and the characterisation is excellent. I see inspiration here both from Memoirs of a Geisha (with the language, not just the fact that there is a Japanese lady) and Perfume by Patrick Suskind. I especially like that Lecter and Grenoille both have a 'memory palace' and both novels are quite darkly comic as well as being unspeakably sad.

At first I was disappointed with the narration. It should be much longer than 7 hours because Mr Harris narrates too quickly. However after a few chapters it stopped bothering me and I enjoyed his natural accent as well as the other accents he attempted.

What I like most about this is that it doesn't reduce a mysterious, almost superhuman 'bad guy' to a normal guy with a bad past. It does explain why he first kills - and it's a motivation that we can probably all sympathise with - but it does not explain why he carries on killing after the novel's events. It is at the end of Hannibal Rising that he becomes a monster, and once a monster he is no longer subject to normal human desires and motivations.

Well worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful